Did you know that small business startups only have a 50 percent chance of making it past five years? However, the success of your business isn't exactly a coin-toss. In truth, you have complete control over your success.
The decisions you make every day affect your business, for better or worse. And one of the best decisions you can make is looking into brand development strategies.
Unless you went to school for marketing, odds are this whole concept is relatively new to you. Fortunately, you don't need a marketing degree to run a successful ad campaign, create brand recognition, or understand the marketing basics. You just need to do a little research and this article is a good start.
Brand Development Strategies
Every business's main goal is to grow and make money. But what does that have to do with developing a brand?
The branding definition is to promote products, services, or a company by using distinctive design and advertising. Brand development is what sets you apart from your competitors. Need a little help?
Here are our top 10 brand-building strategies to get your company noticed and stay on the minds of consumers.
1. Gain Insight Into Your Target Audience
Whether you're talking business, politics, religion, comedy, or music, the most important piece of advice you'll ever hear is to "know your audience." But what does that mean?
Basically, you shouldn't invest time, energy, or resources talking to people who don't want to hear what you have to say. In terms of marketing, an uninvested or disinterested audience is a waste of resources. Instead, concentrate your efforts on a demographic of people whom you know can benefit from your company.
However, in order to appeal to an audience, you need to understand that audience. What drives them? What are their problems?
Answering these questions helps you create a smaller target audience. This is vital for optimizing your marketing efforts to make sure the right message is going to the right people.
2. Create an Emotional Connection With Consumers
Brand development strategies are about more than selling goods or services. They're about creating an emotional connection with consumers.
We live in a world run largely by technology. While automated services, artificial intelligence, and digital messaging can be wonderful things, they leave us missing out on a fundamental experience - a human connection. If you can humanize your company, you'll give people a reason to choose your products or services over your competitors.
Connect with your target audience by digging deep into your core values. Why do you do what you do and how can it relate to consumers? What message can you send that will tug on peoples' heartstrings?
Find out what your target audience is passionate and compassionate about. Use this information to align your message with their beliefs, needs, or problems to create a feeling of likemindedness. This will naturally lead to a sense of connectedness between the consumer and your company.
3. Solve Problems
One of the most important brand development strategies is learning how to be a problem solver. This applies to more than your products and services. You also need to create an online presence that offers solutions to peoples' everyday problems.
For example, if you're in the health and fitness industry, you could use your blog to post articles full of information on how to diet, exercise, build lean muscle mass, etc. The key is offering your readers valuable and relevant information. This serves to build a better relationship with potential customers and presents you as an authority in your field.
Your problem-solving purpose must be driven home with your advertising. You need to focus your marketing on telling people what you do and how it can help them. Why do they need you?
The harsh truth of business is that people don't care about you. They're under no obligation to use your products or services. Consumers care about themselves and how a business can make their lives better.
4. Be Consistent
Gaining brand awareness takes time, and more importantly, consistency. Since we already used the fitness example above, look at it like going on a diet. You can't expect to exercise or eat healthy one day out of the week and see any progress.
You must make losing weight (or brand awareness in this case) your absolute top priority. It's commonly said that a consumer needs to see an ad roughly seven times before the marketing starts to sink in. You need to make sure you're reaching your target audience over and over again to make a lasting impact.
If you're going to try a brand strategy, commit to it. As a small business, we understand that your marketing budget may be tight. However, you can develop a brand marketing strategy that isn't driven primarily by money.
The key is working on that strategy every day. You must commit the resources you have available to you (time, money, research, etc.).
5. Take Advantage of Social Media
One brand building strategy that can be done organically or through paid advertising is social media marketing. Did you know nearly 70 percent of American adults are on Facebook? Out of those, the majority use it at least once a day.
Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and several other social media platforms have become increasingly popular over the last few decades. As such, they've become increasingly important for brand development strategies.
You can use social media organically to gain more and more followers. Try to post something on your profile roughly once a day. However, the content must be engaging, relevant, and valuable — otherwise, users will have no reason to follow you.
Encourage your current followers to like, comment, and share your posts so their friends and followers will be exposed to your content. You can boost engagement by running contests or raffles that offer free giveaways or exclusive discounts. Make sure you stipulate in the details that users must (like, share, and/or comment) to be entered.
Alternatively, you can invest in paid advertising. Through paid social media advertising, you can select the demographic of users you want to see your ads based on age, gender, location, interests, and more. This is vital for optimizing your marketing budget.
Paid advertising also tracks each ad to give you important feedback on how well it performed. You'll see how many people saw it in their feeds as well as the engagement it received (likes, comments, shares, link clicks). You can even run A and B ads simultaneously to compare and contrast ad styles and techniques.
6. Perfect Your Website's User Experience
Successful brand development strategies also include optimizing your website's performance for the best possible user experience. But what makes a website user-friendly?
First, it must be easy to find. You need to make sure your website's SEO (search engine optimization) is ranking high. This will increase organic traffic coming to your site through keyword searches on search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
You can improve your SEO by:
- Using relevant keywords
- Using headers and titles embedded with SEO metadata
- Using internal and external links
- Getting backlinks from other websites
- Using multiple forms of media (images, photos, video, infographics, etc.) embedded with metadata
- Publishing your contact information
- Optimizing your website for mobile devices
However, user experience is also about loading quickly and running smoothly. Your site also needs to be intuitive — users shouldn't be getting lost or have difficulty navigating.
7. Connect to Consumers With Email Marketing
Email marketing has stood the test of time and proven itself effective. It's still one of the best ways to generate leads and make sales conversions. But before you can start sending emails, you need to build an email subscriber list.
You can get people to subscribe to your list in a number of ways. First, offer clients and customers discounts and special offers that they can only receive through email promotions. This will grant new and returning customers exclusive deals (and incentives) to buy.
You can encourage people to sign up using landing page ads on your website. These ads are pop-up windows that provide a strong incentive to promote a specific call to action (in this case, subscribing to your email). You can also accomplish this through ads on other websites or on your social media page.
Once a user subscribes, you should have a set of automated emails ready to go out. The first one should be in direct correlation with whatever compelled them to subscribe. It will grant them access to the discount, free product, Ebook, or whatever content you offered to get them to sign up.
The following emails will go out over the next few weeks. Don't bombard their inbox with emails or they'll quickly get annoyed and unsubscribe. Start with a gentle approach by thanking them for subscribing while explaining more about the company and who you are.
Then, send relevant content that's both engaging and valuable to them. Email marketing provides a way to stay connected with consumers while continuing to promote your brand.
8. Be Memorable
Brand development strategies are all about keeping your company at the top of consumers' minds. When they think of products or services in your industry, your name needs to immediately come to mind. To accomplish this, your brand must be memorable.
There are several ways you can improve your recognition and memorability:
- Brand name - Simple, bold, easy to remember
- Logo - Colorful, unique, simple, and symbolic
- Taglines - Impactful or witty taglines people will remember
- Jingles - Memorable, albeit annoying tunes people can't get out of their heads
- Unique ads - Comedic, shocking, or emotional ads that will create a lasting effect
It's important to distinguish yourself from competing companies in your industry. The more unique or memorable you are, the more likely you are to draw in consumers.
9. Invest in PPC Marketing
As noted above, developing a brand isn't an accidental process. You need to take intentional steps to tell people who you are and what you do. More importantly, they need to know how you can help them.
Getting your message across often requires expanding your reach. To do this, you may want to invest in pay per click advertising. This type of marketing allows you to pay other websites to host your ads in exchange for a payment.
In PPC advertising, you pay the host site a predetermined amount every time your ad gets clicked on by a user.
You can also use PPC marketing on search engine sites. Here, you pay the search engine site to make sure your website comes up at the top of the results pages based on specific keywords. Users are much more likely to click on websites on the first page, especially near the top.
10. Don't Forget About Traditional Local Marketing Techniques
Finally, brand development strategies shouldn't neglect traditional methodologies. Your community needs to feel your presence locally, not just on the internet.
For a big impact, we recommend getting involved with a local charity to host an event. You can also use this as an opportunity to reach out and meet other local business owners. You can ask them if they want to participate to gain some exposure in the community while giving back.
Typically, each business that participates is required to pay a sponsorship fee. This allows them to set up a booth at the event to promote their business. This also adds funding for the event, which can go towards food, entertainment, etc.
Alternatively, you can also look into locally-based advertisements through the radio, local TV, newspapers, direct mailing, and more.
Looking for More Solutions?
Developing a brand isn't easy. It's hardly a mystery why so many small businesses fail each year. However, that doesn't mean you're destined for failure.
We can help. If you'd like to learn about our unique solutions and methodologies, please click below.